Will vapes trigger smoke alarms?

The use of vaping or electronic cigarettes has become increasingly famous in recent years. Studies point out that five per cent of the U.S. population vapes and a third of users do it daily. While lots of individuals may perceive vaping as a safer substitute to traditional smoking, it is vital to consider the potential impact it may have on smoke alarms.

First, let’s discuss how smoke alarms work, which types of smoke alarms are most likely to be set off by vaping, and different techniques to stop a vape from activating a smoke alarm.

Fire alarms vs smoke alarms

You may have heard of fire alarms and smoke alarms, but did you know there is a difference between the two, which also affects the chance of them picking up on vapor from cigarette smoke and e-cigarettes?

Smoke alarms just work by detecting fire, smoke, or heat. There are different designs, although each one works freely unless linked to a centralized system. On the other hand, fire alarms encompass many gadgets that provide more than just detecting smoke which welcomes a big difference between the two.

Generally, fire alarms are linked to different building devices to largely spread alerts throughout a building or place where a fire is noticed. Fire alarms generally consist of different smoke alarms throughout a building and each one is top suited. One important difference between the two is that fire alarm systems are usually linked to electrical mains instead of relying on batteries to provide the highest level of protection.

Types of fire and smoke alarms

smoke alarms

There are three key types of smoke alarms generally used throughout household and public buildings such as restaurants, pubs, and hotels, including places of work. Each is designed to notice fire in various ways either focusing on optical, ionisation, or heat to detect fire and other potential risks.

Optical alarms

Optical smoke alarms work by using infrared light to notice the smoke. When particles break this light beam within the alarm, it causes the light to be scattered which will then activate the alarm.

Optical alarms can be activated by e-cigarette vapour in the same way ionisation alarms can, although once again this is commonly only the case with bigger vapour exhales from stronger devices. Further, shortfill e-liquid used with these gadgets has a higher vegetable Glycerine ratio which creates a thicker vapour more prone to set off smoke alarms.

Ionisation alarms

Ionisation smoke alarms work by ionising the air between 2 electrically charged plates. This kind of alarm is activated when anything problems the current between the two plates, such as smoke. Ionisation alarms are less sensitive to vapour created by e-cigarettes, anyway, they can still be activated by vaping, mainly denser clouds created by more strong devices.

Heat alarms

Largely used within garage and kitchen environments, heat alarms are one of the least likely fire or smoke alarms to be activated by vaping. These alarms respond to warm air created by fire. Once this hotter air the sensor chamber, most generally 50C or higher, the alarm will activate. Although your coil will warm up to a higher temperature, the vapour exhaled should not set off the smoke alarm.

Will vapes trigger smoke alarms?

vapes trigger smoke alarms

The short answer is that vapes can indeed set off smoke alarms, but it is fully depend on a few factors.

One of the key factors is the type of smoke alarm you have. Ionization smoke alarms are more sensitive to little smoke particles, which means they can be more likely to notice vape clouds. On the other hand, photoelectric smoke alarms may be less likely to be activated by vapes.

Another factor to keep in mind is the room size and the amount of vape being generated. If you are vaping in little, enclosed spaces with lots of vape production, it is more likely that your smoke alarm will be activated. It is forever better to vape outside where easy, or if you favour vaping indoors at home, open as many windows as possible or make sure the room is well-ventilated. If you are vaping with a high-wattage device, like a vape mod, or using a high VG ratio, an unventilated room will immediately fill with vapour.

Does vaping set off smoke alarms on aeroplanes?

Smopke alarms on planes are very sensitive for self-evident reasons. A little fire can spell down at 35,000 ft, and cabin crews do not mess around when it comes to enforcing no vaping or smoking on the aeroplane rule.

So does vaping on a plane actually set off the alarm? Sometimes no, or maybe yes. It is best not to tempt fate and instead follow the aeroplane rules. Otherwise, you risk setting off the alarm and forcing the captain to divert to the closest airport, where you will find yourself in a world of issue.

Does vaping set off smoke alarms in hotels or restaurants?

Again, there is no one answer here and it will generally depend and the type of alarms fitted. Rules change across hotels, some outright van vaping, while others do not specify. It is forever the best idea to check with the front desk when you check in and follow their rules.

Whether you set the alarm off or not will depend on the alarm type, the vapour amount and the proximity to the alarm. Vape with care and in accordance with hotel rules, or setting off the alarm could possibly lead to full-scale evacuation of the building and chance a big fine in the process.

Additional indoor risks with e-cigarettes

The risks of vaping inside go beyond false alarms. New studies have concluded that vapes are also potential fire hazards. There have been many cases of vaping causing fires leading to injuries and even deaths. Many vape fires are attached to the lithium-ion batteries inside. When these batteries overheat, they can catch on fire or even explode.

Most vape fires have been reported while the device was charging. It is important to remain nearby whenever a vape is charging and unplug it quickly if it becomes overheated. Anyway, there have also been reports of it catching fire while in use, so forever be cautious whenever using one.

When a home fire happens, the best smoke detector can make all the difference. By being cautious with vaping, you can greatly decrease the danger of a false alarm or starting a fire in your house. Additionally, you should never underestimate the significance of powerful home security.

Tips on how to vape without setting off smoke alarm

While vaping indoors, mainly in sensitive or shared areas, it is forever best to be mindful of your surroundings and take proactive steps to stop smoke alarms from being activated. Here are some practical tips to help you enjoy your vaping experience without setting off smoke alarms:

Exhale away from alarms

Exhale away from alarms

When vaping indoors try, try making the best effort to position yourself away from smoke alarms. Exhaling vapour in the opposite way from the alarm can significantly decrease the chances of activating it. Some smoke alarms are mounted on walls, while others are on ceilings. Be alert to the location of the alarm and adjust your vaping position accordingly.

Better ventilation

If you are still worried about your e-cigarette vapour triggering your smoke alarms, we advise opening a window or two to better the flow of air in the room.

Adjust the way you vape

If you are vaping in an unfamiliar area and do not want to risk setting off an alarm, it can be helpful to switch up your vaping style temporarily. Instead of exhaling big, dense clouds of vapour, consider taking little puffs and inhaling deeply. This approach generates less concentrated aerosol and is less likely to activate alarms. Some vape devices permit you to adjust the temperature or wattage. Lowering these settings can result in less vapour production.

Whenever easy, pick well-ventilated spaces for vaping, it is also vital to adhere to no-smoking signs and policies in areas where vaping is not permitted. This not just helps avoid setting off alarms, but shows respect for others around you.


  • A. Can vape set off a smoke alarm?

The vapour created from e-cigarettes can set off a smoke alarm, mainly if it is an optical or ionisation design, although vapes may struggle to set off a heat alarm.

  • B. Can vape set off a fire alarm?

Vapour from electronic cigarettes can activate a fire alarm if it comes into contact with a smoke alarm or detector. Never vape indoors if you are not permitted to do so. If allowed, avoid blowing vapour towards the smoke alarm and make sure the room is well-ventilated.

Although disposable vapes such as Lost Mary and Elf Bar produce a small amount of vapour, they can still set off smoke alarms, mainly ones that utilise optical or ionisation designs.

End words

Vapes can definitely set off smoke alarms, but this depends on a few factors. By understanding how smoke alarms work and taking some easy precautions, you can decrease the risk of setting off your smoke alarm while vaping.

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